The Norman Economic Development Coalition recently was selected as one of 36 finalists for Innovator of the Year, selected by the Journal Record business newspaper.
NEDC was nominated for the award by SouthWest NanoTechnologies or SWeNT and its CEO David Arthur.
“In 2007, NEDC took a giant leap of faith in what may well become a model for partnering with a start-up company,” reads SWeNT’s nomination letter. “When Norman-based SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc., a leading producer of single-wall carbon nanotubes, needed to dramatically expand its manufacturing capabilities, NEDC came up with a proposal that would enable the company to do just that. Partly because of NEDC’s unwavering support, SWeNT broke ground in July 2007 on an 18,000-square-foot, $3.9 million manufacturing plant on 8 acres at the Norman Business Park. The building is expected to be completed this spring.”
NEDC was credited with supporting SWeNT since its creation in 2001 to commercialize nanotube technology developed by Daniel Resasco, University of Oklahoma professor of chemical engineering. Resasco is the company’s lead scientist.
The first home for SWeNT was at NEDC’s business incubator eTec.
“Today, SWeNT is a privately held independent specialty chemical company that manufactures high-quality single wall carbon nanotubes for a broad array of specialty products. Its target markets include displays, military and aerospace, energy, medicine, automotive and semiconductors. Combined, these markets represent a multi-billion dollar market opportunity for carbon nanotubes,” the nomination letter reads. “For its steadfast support of SWeNT and companies like it that enhance Norman’s economy and its quality of life, NEDC should be honored with the 2008 Innovator of the Year award.”
Other SWeNT employees called Don Wood, NEDC executive director, “a great supporter and a great friend.”
The Innovator of the Year award will be announced March 13.
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